Around 4 months ago, I posed a question to Network Ten on this blog, just days after the announcement of Ten's 2012 upfronts, and the announcement of "Breakfast" (Ten's much vaunted return to adult-focused breakfast television) concerning the future of Toasted TV. I have not been alone in asking these questions, of what Ten is doing with Toasted TV, once the Breakfast launch happens.
The original post's inspiration, came from a forum thread on Serebii.net (one of the the world's most popular Pokemon fansites), entitled "Pokemon in Australia", which saw Australian Pokemon fans, asking these same questions as I was.
Since the posting of the original "Toasted question", the Pokemon Black and White anime has premiered in Australia but, a timeslot change by Ten, back a hour (from 7:30am on Saturday, to 6:30am on Saturday) has got these fans who will likely be a force, when Ten makes it's intentions known, riled up. Ten's problem is, that those Pokemon fans, have now been blended into this large group of people mad at Ten's 2011 misjudgements, such as not fast-tracking Glee past end of ratings, axing programs like Video Hits, Sports Tonight and Ten's late night news bulletins, and not letting programs (first 6:30 local news, followed by moving George Negus to 6:30) thrive in their own time.
Why mention fast-tracking?
Why I mentioned fast-tracking of programming, and why does it have relevance to this situation? The problem is that for example: Toasted TV is 32 episodes behind the US when it comes to the current season of Pokemon, something made worse, by Ten not making a attempt to catch up with America, by not switching it to weekdays. Another factor is episode editing, to try and fit in more space for pretaped segments. Because of this, people thus, are more inclined to download episodes from overseas, as a result of both Ten editing episodes, and the fact that Ten aren't screening it as often as fans want, which if it were done on the previous schedule, pre-Saturday move: which was airing 4/5 episodes per week, would obviously discourage downloading. This situation wouldn't affect the common viewer of course, but it's the true fans of the Pokemon anime, who are considering downloading, instead of watching a program with a uncertain future, along with a time-slot that is unsuitable for not just the fans, but the common viewers too. If Ten had looked at fast-tracking Pokemon episodes, it will not just be a benefit for viewers: but for second-run rights holder, Cartoon Network.
Cartoon Network: their problems.
CN has had the pay-tv rights to Pokemon for as long as people remember. The problem with their deal is, they can't air new Pokemon episodes, until after Ten airs them, hence, why it took a year, for the Sinnoh League Victors season to end up on Cartoon Network, and why it will likely take twelve months or more for B/W season to premiere on CN in Australia: eighteen months after CN in the US debuted the B/W season. the airdate would be earlier, if Ten fast-tracked episodes. The other factor in any fast-track push by Ten, would be the sales of the season sets for the earlier Pokemon seasons (with little to no promotion, outside the fanbase, nor on Toasted TV, might I add), brought out in the last 12 months. These DVD releases have now only just caught up with the anime, and are likely to become a alternative for the true fans, as they are commercial free, and they can re-watch their favorite episodes, including the older episodes pre-Sinnoh that are no longer re-run.
Is the end nigh?
It's a case now, of Ten announcing to their loyal fanbase, straight up, about their plans for Toasted TV. Especially, as some of these people have watched since the days of Jade and Ryan, on Cheez TV. The clock is ticking, to get their plans laid, for Toasted TV next year, and letting people know about them, and if a channel change does happen, Ten needs to change it's attitude towards the product, and people might think twice about changing habits, and stop considering downloading. If the rumor is true, and Ten indeed launches Breakfast in late February: then Toasted TV viewers only have two months to campaign to Ten, to save "their" show from the axe, or at least get Ten to give the program new life on Eleven, and to listen to the viewers qualms, such as the need to fast-track content, and the ceasing of editing shows (as multichannels can have a PG rating all day (a decision made as part of the recently updated FTA Code of Practice): something GO! uses well, with content that used to be bypassed or heavily edited for airing on the main channel on Kids WB, now airing in the 4pm timeslot on GO!.) along with the addition of some rerun content that fits the PG rating. It is indeed time for the fans of the shows on Toasted TV, the people who depend on it (websites like PokemonAus, Cartoon Central Australia and Bulbagarden), and most importantly the casual viewers of Toasted TV, to step up to the plate. Viewers want answers: Ten has the answers, to a "Toasted question" that people are only now beginning to realise about how it should be asked: how much there is to lose if Toasted TV is, axed, with no replacements on either One or Eleven. Both Channel Ten and Toasted TV have Facebook pages to leave messages on, and Ten also has a twitter page. It's about time Ten came clean about their plans for Toasted TV past February 24 2012: everyone (not just Pokemon fans, but fans of other cartoons such as Beyblade and Bakugan, that Toasted TV airs) are holding their collective breath.